Jewelry Trends

What is Fine Jewelry?

Rachel Akmakjian


Rachel Akmakjian

What Does Fine Jewelry Mean? A Quick Guide

Suppose you’re unfamiliar with the world of jewelry beyond just being able to recognize what you like and what you don’t. In that case, you may need to brush up on a few industry terms. If you want to begin building a broader jewelry collection or start making smarter jewelry purchases, whether because you intend on passing your jewelry down to future generations or you want to start thinking of your jewelry collections as investments, knowing the differences between fine jewelry vs fashion jewelry, fashion jewelry vs costume jewelry, fine jewelry vs semi fine jewelry, and so on is crucial.

To help you get started, here’s a complete overview of fine jewelry and fashion jewelry and the differences between the two.

jewelry in box

What You Will Learn

What is Fine Jewelry?

First and foremost, what is considered fine jewelry?

The term fine jewelry means a piece consisting of fine materials, more specifically:

  • Precious metals
  • Genuine gemstones

These are the only two requirements when we define fine jewelry. As such, the term can be rather broad. You can go about purchasing fine jewelry at most chain jewelry stores, as well as at local jewelry boutiques. Despite the more luxurious-sounding name, fine jewelry is within reach for the average shopper, as haute couture jewelry might be.

What is Semi Fine Jewelry?

Before we get to fashion jewelry, there’s a type of jewelry that lies somewhere in the middle ground between fine and fashion jewelry: semi fine jewelry.

Semi fine jewelry combines fine and fashion jewelry elements, often using real gemstones, but maybe not 100% precious metals. For example, a piece of semi fine jewelry might be gold plated rather than solid gold. The gold plating might be applied to a more affordable metal, like sterling silver; this gold plated jewelry gives you the appearance of a solid gold piece but without the cost.

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What is Fashion Jewelry?

Fashion jewelry’s meaning relies on the semi fine and fine jewelry meaning discussed above, as fashion jewelry includes anything that does not fall into either of these two categories.

Fashion jewelry adheres to a few key criteria. Fashion jewelry does not include any:

  • Precious stones
  • Precious metal
  • Precious materials of any kind

Instead, fashion jewelry uses comparable products that give the appearance of precious stones and metals without the cost or quality. For example, fashion jewelry might include simulated stones, like cubic zirconia, which looks like a diamond but comes at a fraction of the price.

What is Costume Jewelry?

Fashion jewelry pieces are also sometimes referred to as costume jewelry. The two terms are interchangeable.

Fashion Jewelry vs Fine Jewelry: Pros & Cons

fine jewelry vs fashion jewelry

So, which should you shop for, fashion jewelry or fine jewelry? Which will best suit your needs as you expand your existing jewelry collection?

Fine Jewelry Pros

  • The benefits of purchasing fine jewelry are vast.
  • Fine jewelry is an investment that holds its value over time.
  • Fine jewelry is made from high-quality materials.
  • Fine jewelry can be unique and one-of-a-kind if you purchase the right piece.

Fashion Jewelry Pros

While fashion jewelry may not come with the same benefits as fine jewelry, it still boasts its own benefits.

  • Fashion jewelry is more affordable than fine jewelry.
  • Fashion jewelry does not require the same maintenance and care as fine jewelry.
  • Fashion jewelry is easier to replace in the event of loss or damage.

Fine Jewelry Cons

Despite all its benefits, fine jewelry does come with a few cons.

  • Fine jewelry is more expensive.
  • Fine jewelry requires special care to ensure longevity.
  • Fine jewelry is at risk for theft
  • .Fine jewelry may need to be insured.

Fashion Jewelry Cons

Likewise, fashion jewelry comes with its cons as well.

  • Fashion jewelry does not hold any value.
  • Fashion jewelry will likely depreciate in quality and condition over time.
  • Fashion jewelry is more likely to cause allergic reactions in those sensitive to certain metals and materials.
  • Fashion jewelry is mass-made and not unique to the wearer.
  • Fashion jewelry is not insurable.

Which is Right for You?

Which option is best for you will entirely depend on your individual needs.

Suppose you’re looking for an affordable, attractive piece, and you don’t necessarily care about investing, or you don’t necessarily want a piece that will last for decades. In that case, you may find that fashion jewelry fits your needs and preferences.

If you want a piece that will be a long-lasting investment and retain its quality and appearance over the years, you may prefer fine jewelry.

Most jewelry wearers own a mix of fashion and fine jewelry. Fine jewelry is ideal for sentimental pieces, such as unique occasion gifts and engagement rings. Meanwhile, fashion jewelry is an excellent option to have on hand when you just want to wear something casual with an everyday outfit. You don’t want to worry about properly caring for your jewelry while out.

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Fine Jewelry FAQs

What is Considered Fine Jewelry?

Fine jewelry is any kind of jewelry that contains all precious metals and genuine gemstones. Fine jewelry never includes synthetic gemstones and does not use precious metals to cover pieces made from metals of lesser value.

What’s the Difference Between Fine Jewelry and High Jewelry?

All high jewelry is fine jewelry, but not all fine jewelry is high jewelry. Fine jewelry is any piece made entirely from all precious metals and genuine gemstones. High jewelry, though, takes this concept a step further. High jewelry, sometimes called haute couture jewelry, is often hand-crafted and uniquely designed for a single or limited number of wearers and is made from the highest-quality materials available. High jewelry is only available from high-end designers and brands such as Tiffany & Co., Chopard, Cartier, etc.

Is Fine Jewelry More Expensive?

Fine jewelry is more expensive than fashion jewelry. Still, fine jewelry is worth the investment, as it retains its value long-term. However, despite the term “fine jewelry” making fine jewelry seem extra-luxurious or potentially out of reach, fine jewelry may very well be in your budget. You can find fine jewelry pieces selling for as little as $1,000 at your local jewelry boutique.

When You Invest in Fine Jewelry, Protect It

If you’ve decided to invest in a beautiful piece of fine jewelry or realize that you already own a few fine jewelry pieces, make sure to protect that jewelry with specialized insurance from BriteCo.

Our comprehensive coverage ensures your favorite fine jewelry pieces have coverage from loss, theft, damage, and more of life’s unforeseeable incidents. Learn more and get your quote now.

Also Check:

Who Invented Jewelry? | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance

Appraisal Tool:

The Easiest Way to Get a Professional Jewelry Appraisal Valuation!



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Rachel's expertise is further enhanced by her distinction as a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), equipping her with exceptional knowledge in gem identification and grading. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.